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Ultimate Factions (PFRPG)

***** (based on 1 rating)
LGP307UL06PFE

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Treason or Triumph?

The sultan’s grand vizier is secretly plotting against him with other members of the court. The guilds are trying to bully small businesses. The neighboring country have spies in the palace. The city guard in the capital are under the pay of the thieves’ guild. The local druid circle aren’t happy about all the farms being built, or the woodcutting in the forest, and want the kingdom’s Councilor to help them persuade the king to put a stop to it.

All of these are themes from fantasy stories, but the core kingdom building rules introduced in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Campaign and expanded in Ultimate Rulership from Legendary Games focus primarily on your heroes and the decisions they make as the ruling council of their own kingdom. With Ultimate Factions, we provide you with detailed rules for different political factions, religious sects, and any number of influential power brokers and wealthy elites devoted to rising up and seizing whatever they can hold. Your heroes may play off their rivals against one another and use their wits to consolidate their own power and secure their throne from threats that can't be defeated by sword or spell. In the great game of houses and thrones, your heroes must triumph! Grab this 26-page kingdom-building supplement today and Make Your Kingdom Legendary!

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Product Discussion (58)
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Yay!

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey Ben, I've got a few questions here for you if you don't mind:

What was your favorite part of working on this book?

What part of this book are you most proud of?

What section of this book do you think will be the most helpful to players and GMs reading this respectively?

Congrats on your first LG book, can't wait to see it do awesome!


Oooh, good questions.

I doubt I can think of a favourite part of working on it. Almost every step of the way I would have an almighty nerd-fest, which started with "Jason said he'd look at it!", carried on through "Jason's ordering cover art!", and even stuck with me through "Oh, damn, I've completely messed up every single one of the Operations... again!". My wife would look at me doing a bit of a jig and say "you're getting excited again."

There are two things I'm most proud of. First is the Ultimate Intrigue Organization conversion rules. Those were tough to get straight, and I'm very pleased with the result (even the vague hand-wavy "Gm's call!" bits). Secondly would be when I realised that making all of the outcomes "fire and forget" wouldn't wreck anything, and actually make it easier to manage multiple factions in play at once.

It's difficult to say what would be most helpful to players and GMs - it's a subsystem, and while it's designed to run as part of the Kingdom rules there's no actual need for those rules to be in play. It's very GM-centric, but there's advice for involving the players - my own players did some very interesting things involving their kingdom, which included the paladin Royal Enforcer's player running the Guards and the Ruler's player running the Thieves' Guild. That got a bit tricky. Overall, probably the advice that says "don't get possessive about a faction you run" for players and "if anyone at the table isn't interested but you still want to use these rules, use the simple rules instead" for GMs.

I'm really excited to see it available, this is my first real foray into writing rules for publication, and to have it be with Legendary Games is pretty darn "wow!" for a first-timer. Definitely hoping it won't be the last.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Glad to hear all this, it's always good to get out as much as you can about a product, and people appreciate hearing it from the author themselves. Hit me up if you want to talk, one LG writer to another. And I hope this really takes off!

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Posted up in the 3PP Product discussion group, along with some other cool previews coming through today!

Congrats, Ben, and thanks for making a book I think will be a lot of fun for people to use!


N. Jolly wrote:
Glad to hear all this, it's always good to get out as much as you can about a product, and people appreciate hearing it from the author themselves. Hit me up if you want to talk, one LG writer to another. And I hope this really takes off!

I'll definitely take you up on that at some point, and I'm more than willing to talk about this book to anyone with questions, comments, or feedback (I suspect I'll need to develop a good "feedback ear", though).

As for hoping it takes off, I couldn't agree more, not least because someone somewhere suggested "Ultimate Strongholds" to round out the series, and I think I can do something with that.


Jason Nelson wrote:

Posted up in the 3PP Product discussion group, along with some other cool previews coming through today!

Congrats, Ben, and thanks for making a book I think will be a lot of fun for people to use!

Thanks, Jason! I certainly believe that it's a great addition to the rules (I might be biased, though).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Like the premise, added to my watch list. Will buy when print/PDF bundle is available.

...is it there yet?

...how about now?

...now?

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Rathendar wrote:

Like the premise, added to my watch list. Will buy when print/PDF bundle is available.

...is it there yet?

...how about now?

...now?

Why yes, it's available right here, right now!


Still having problems with your website I'm afraid. Have purchased Ultimate Factions (and have receipts from the site and Paypal) but it's not shown up in 'My Downloads'!!!!

More details on a PM.

Any help?

Cheers


Sorry to hear that, Mark! I notoriously have problems with the LG store (which I've discussed at great length with Jason and Rachel at LG), but Jason is an absolute legend (heh) for resolving things outside the box. It's nighttime for him, though, so be patient, please!


Understood - just getting the message out.

Cheers
Mark


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have the PDF and I really like this one; it's got a great set of ideas for how to make life more 'interesting' for the PCs outside of combat.

I do have one question: how exactly do you determine the initial size of a faction? I'm probably just blinking and missing it, but it seems to be eluding me.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Goes and grabs his own copy.

Assuming you're creating a new faction from scratch rather than just pulling one out thin air that's "always been there":

Start with size 0.

If your faction type gets a bonus on Table 1 (p7) for buildings within the kingdom, you can choose (very, very, very optional) to start with an increased size. I would almost always recommend starting with at least size 1 if you can.

Edit: Glad you like it, Eric! As my first ever published material, I'm quite nervous about how it's received.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ben Walklate wrote:

Goes and grabs his own copy.

Assuming you're creating a new faction from scratch rather than just pulling one out thin air that's "always been there":

Start with size 0.

If your faction type gets a bonus on Table 1 (p7) for buildings within the kingdom, you can choose (very, very, very optional) to start with an increased size. I would almost always recommend starting with at least size 1 if you can.

Edit: Glad you like it, Eric! As my first ever published material, I'm quite nervous about how it's received.

Thanks for clarifying that. And I love this PDF. I'll try and give it a review after another day or so of reading it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just did a review for this one. I hope it brings in some sales, because this one deserves to be used!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Eric, thank you very much for that review. You certainly seem to have hit everything I was looking for when writing it.

I'd really appreciate knowing what typos you found (I found one).

One thing that I don't know has twigged with people was regarding the sample factions: most of them are the Organizations from Ultimate Intrigue, with a couple of groups from the Villain Codex thrown in for good measure. I had a lot of fun doing those (but boy were the ones from VC tough!).

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Just did a review for this one. I hope it brings in some sales, because this one deserves to be used!

Thanks for the review, Eric! We'd certainly appreciate it if you could copy the review over to the product page at Amazon, the Open Gaming Store, and DrivethruRPG!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jason Nelson wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Just did a review for this one. I hope it brings in some sales, because this one deserves to be used!
Thanks for the review, Eric! We'd certainly appreciate it if you could copy the review over to the product page at Amazon, the Open Gaming Store, and DrivethruRPG!

I got Amazon and the OGS, but since you have to buy the product on their site to review it there, I can't get my review posted on DriveThru.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes, that's a bit of a problem with DTRPG, in my experience. Huge thanks for the others, though!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Just to point out that although for DriveThruRPG requires you to have purchased a product on their site in order to drop a review on their product reviews section, you can still leave a comment on the product discussion section of the product's page if you have an account with DriveThruRPG. It is what I had to do when I needed to ask a 3PP a question about one of their products (because I had picked it at the Open Gaming site due to a lower price but I don't like the format/layout of the reviews/product discussion sections at Open Gaming).

I have picked up this product when it came out but only recently started reading into it. I like it, it's cool - I just don't know how much my players will like it and whether or not it would be too much book-keeping at this point for my mythic Kingmaker campaign as we are approaching The Varnhold Vanishing. I have already implemented every other LG's Ultimate Plug-In (Ultimate Battle, Ultimate War, Ultimate Commander, Ultimate Rulership, and a little bit of Ultimate Relationships) - any more and my players might start to wonder if I'm on LG's payroll, ;P

Cheers!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Great review, Eric - just makes me want to dig my heels in and catch up with LG faster so I can get to this book!! :D

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Just did a review for this one. I hope it brings in some sales, because this one deserves to be used!
Thanks for the review, Eric! We'd certainly appreciate it if you could copy the review over to the product page at Amazon, the Open Gaming Store, and DrivethruRPG!
I got Amazon and the OGS, but since you have to buy the product on their site to review it there, I can't get my review posted on DriveThru.

I could always send you a complimentary copy on OBS, since you've already bought it, which would make you a "purchaser."


Canadian Bakka wrote:

I have picked up this product when it came out but only recently started reading into it. I like it, it's cool - I just don't know how much my players will like it and whether or not it would be too much book-keeping at this point for my mythic Kingmaker campaign as we are approaching The Varnhold Vanishing. I have already implemented every other LG's Ultimate Plug-In (Ultimate Battle, Ultimate War, Ultimate Commander, Ultimate Rulership, and a little bit of Ultimate Relationships) - any more and my players might start to wonder if I'm on LG's payroll, ;P

Cheers!

Thanks for the kind words, CB - and I completely sympathise with concerns that the rules add yet another subsystem to an already crowded game - please check out the Simple Faction Rules (p17) which were included specifically to address that concern.

And I know what you mean about using LG stuff - simply put, it's my love of the Ultimate Plug-ins that resulted in this book being written.


Endzeitgeist wrote:
Great review, Eric - just makes me want to dig my heels in and catch up with LG faster so I can get to this book!! :D

I'm simultaneously thrilled at the prospect, and utterly petrified of what you're going to think of it, Endy.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ben Walklate wrote:
Endzeitgeist wrote:
Great review, Eric - just makes me want to dig my heels in and catch up with LG faster so I can get to this book!! :D
I'm simultaneously thrilled at the prospect, and utterly petrified of what you're going to think of it, Endy.

You shouldn't be, EZG recognizes quality; why else do you think he's rated almost all my books so highly?


Endzeitgeist wrote:
Great review, Eric - just makes me want to dig my heels in and catch up with LG faster so I can get to this book!! :D

I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy Ultimate Factions when you get a chance to read it.


Jason Nelson wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Just did a review for this one. I hope it brings in some sales, because this one deserves to be used!
Thanks for the review, Eric! We'd certainly appreciate it if you could copy the review over to the product page at Amazon, the Open Gaming Store, and DrivethruRPG!
I got Amazon and the OGS, but since you have to buy the product on their site to review it there, I can't get my review posted on DriveThru.
I could always send you a complimentary copy on OBS, since you've already bought it, which would make you a "purchaser."

If it doesn't cost you any money, then do so and I'll gladly post my review there.


N. Jolly wrote:
Ben Walklate wrote:
Endzeitgeist wrote:
Great review, Eric - just makes me want to dig my heels in and catch up with LG faster so I can get to this book!! :D
I'm simultaneously thrilled at the prospect, and utterly petrified of what you're going to think of it, Endy.
You shouldn't be, EZG recognizes quality; why else do you think he's rated almost all my books so highly?

Well, that's because you're a class act. :)

In all seriousness, I know I can write (sometimes very clunky English), and I know I can create rules well enough for a game table, but actual formal rules text is a bit harder for me. Case in point: the definition of a faction check. From day 1 of writing, I had a shorthand note that basically said "any check. BETTER WORDS NEEDED". And it was the last actual rule I wrote.

So while I believe I achieved what I set out to do, I'm nervous that it's not up to scratch in some way that I can't define, and I respect Thilo's integrity enough that I know he won't pull any punches.

Which is not to say that I find Eric's review lacking in any way: it's clearly resonated with him, I'm thrilled that he's given it 5 stars, and he touched on loads of the things I am excited about.

In a way, though, a decent review from EZG (3+) would be some sort of "final proof" to me that I can actually do this. And bear in mind that's after Jason Nelson of Legendary Games thought my work was worthwhile.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that all reviews matter, but Endy's is the one that makes me nervous.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Just did a review for this one. I hope it brings in some sales, because this one deserves to be used!
Thanks for the review, Eric! We'd certainly appreciate it if you could copy the review over to the product page at Amazon, the Open Gaming Store, and DrivethruRPG!
I got Amazon and the OGS, but since you have to buy the product on their site to review it there, I can't get my review posted on DriveThru.
I could always send you a complimentary copy on OBS, since you've already bought it, which would make you a "purchaser."
If it doesn't cost you any money, then do so and I'll gladly post my review there.

No problem at all. Done!


Jason Nelson wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Just did a review for this one. I hope it brings in some sales, because this one deserves to be used!
Thanks for the review, Eric! We'd certainly appreciate it if you could copy the review over to the product page at Amazon, the Open Gaming Store, and DrivethruRPG!
I got Amazon and the OGS, but since you have to buy the product on their site to review it there, I can't get my review posted on DriveThru.
I could always send you a complimentary copy on OBS, since you've already bought it, which would make you a "purchaser."
If it doesn't cost you any money, then do so and I'll gladly post my review there.
No problem at all. Done!

Thanks. I'll be posting my review later; and I got my physical copy of the book today, so thanks for that too.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.

But of course, happy to always keep our customer service LEGENDARY!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I'm considering the use of these rules for my current Kingmaker campaign and was wondering if there is a suggested number of factions for a kingdom of a certain size?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Never mind, found it.


Phew! Knew it was in there somewhere.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

No worries! I couldn't find it at first because in this case, the information is spread out over several paragraphs, but overall, the order of presentation in the document is logical and makes a lot of sense.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is doubtless a really foolish question, but there is nothing that says you can't create a faction that works with the PCs and their group/kingdom on one occasion and against them another, right?

Like, for argument's sake, a family/clan that wants their PC relative to succeed but at the same time want to advance themselves against other kingdom factions.

If so then I can see this all leading to factions supporting the PCs on one occasion and then turning right around and going against them the next.


Amanuensis wrote:
No worries! I couldn't find it at first because in this case, the information is spread out over several paragraphs, but overall, the order of presentation in the document is logical and makes a lot of sense.

Thank you! I tried really hard to get the order of things useful and give you the information you need when you need it. Nice to know I (mostly) succeeded.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:

This is doubtless a really foolish question, but there is nothing that says you can't create a faction that works with the PCs and their group/kingdom on one occasion and against them another, right?

Like, for argument's sake, a family/clan that wants their PC relative to succeed but at the same time want to advance themselves against other kingdom factions.

If so then I can see this all leading to factions supporting the PCs on one occasion and then turning right around and going against them the next.

Please, please, please do this! Judicious use of Operations by such a faction could have some really interesting outcomes.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ben Walklate wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:

This is doubtless a really foolish question, but there is nothing that says you can't create a faction that works with the PCs and their group/kingdom on one occasion and against them another, right?

Like, for argument's sake, a family/clan that wants their PC relative to succeed but at the same time want to advance themselves against other kingdom factions.

If so then I can see this all leading to factions supporting the PCs on one occasion and then turning right around and going against them the next.

Please, please, please do this! Judicious use of Operations by such a faction could have some really interesting outcomes.

100% agree - the idea of factions is to provide a push and pull of potentially helpful factions as well as opposing factions, so that it really gives you an incentive to work with them and pull neutral groups into supporting you.


Congratulations on Ultimate Factions hitting the #1 spot on Paizo's list of non-Paizo books being sold on the site! As well as for getting several of your other recent publications in the top ten. Great job, Legendary Games!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have a few questions.

1) Would it make sense to have terrain improvements affect starting faction size for certain industrious factions?

In my current Kingmaker campaign, the players have offended the lumberjacks by siding with the native fey and now the lumberjacks have formed a union to push their own agenda. Giving them an extra size bonus for every sawmill in the kingdom would be fitting. It would also mean that players who run a very expansionist course (like mine) would have to be very careful in their dealings with the economic power houses of their kingdom.

2) I'm not 100% convinced that the kingdom should start with a judicial faction representing the rulers and a civil faction representing the citizens. It doesn't necessarily make sense for a fledgling kingdom with weak institutions and it pits the rulers and the citizens against each other. Also, it goes a bit against the idea that factions should not be power bases for the player characters.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Amanuensis wrote:

I have a few questions.

1) Would it make sense to have terrain improvements affect starting faction size for certain industrious factions?

In my current Kingmaker campaign, the players have offended the lumberjacks by siding with the native fey and now the lumberjacks have formed a union to push their own agenda. Giving them an extra size bonus for every sawmill in the kingdom would be fitting. It would also mean that players who run a very expansionist course (like mine) would have to be very careful in their dealings with the economic power houses of their kingdom.

2) I'm not 100% convinced that the kingdom should start with a judicial faction representing the rulers and a civil faction representing the citizens. It doesn't necessarily make sense for a fledgling kingdom with weak institutions and it pits the rulers and the citizens against each other. Also, it goes a bit against the idea that factions should not be power bases for the player characters.

Those are both eminently reasonable adjustments to make the system fit your campaign!


1) Go for it! I love that.

2) This one is a bit more complex. The first thing to note is that absolutely nothing on the rules says that factions have to be opposed: in fact, for a fledgling kingdom, having the initial judicial and civil factions with a mutual goal is ideal and almost certainly going to happen, because the rulers will have something in common with the people they now rule.

The thing is that while they may start like that (the rulers want to protect the people and the people want to be protected), it should be possible for a faction to take a new goal that doesn't agree with the other (the rulers want to increase taxes, the people want lower taxes).

Anyway, I obviously wasn't quite as clear as I could be about something: it's your game. Do what seems right for you in terms of which factions you want to introduce or start with. The initial judicial and civil factions are there as a thought-prompt for people who aren't sure where to begin.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Thanks for the clarification, that makes sense.

I guess my personal preference is that the factions evolve organically (with certain in-game events/conflicts/local initiatives that serve as catalysts for the people to come together in pursuit of a common goal) which allows me to simulate the social dynamics of a kingdom. I have a hard time imagining a heterogeneous group of citizens organizing as a faction. In the aforementioned example (taxation), I would ask the rulers which taxes they want to impose upon their citizens and the groups most likely to suffer would band together to lobby against the perceived injustice (vendors of victuals against consumption taxes, landowners against property taxes, etc.).


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I have a pair of questions in regards to a faction earning income.

(1) When precisely does a faction make the check to earn income during a faction turn? Is it prior to resolving Operations or afterwards? It seems like it meant to be prior to resolving Operations but the Earn Wealth operation itself refers to granting a bonus to the faction check to earn income on that faction turn. Hence why I am a little confused.

(2) Although there is no DC set for the faction check to generate income for the faction, I am assuming that the stated default of a natural 1 means that the faction failed the check and thereby earns no income. That seems a little wrong that any faction would utter fail at obtaining any income whatsoever. I am using something different for my campaign in this case but I was wondering if my initial understanding of this is correct?

Overall, stellar work, and the simplified rules are super handy. I only wish that there was a handy sheet provided to keep track of a faction's progress. Ah, well. I suppose I will have to figure out a way to incorporate it into my homemade kingdom-building Excel spreadsheet that looks atrocious in comparison to Chemlak's work. ;)

Review for this and Hero's Blood to be typed up later this week once I get enough sleep! :D

CB.


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There's actually an Income Phase, but it got lost during layout (I've already sent this and a typo I found to Jason).

The Income Phase occurs after the Operations Phase. On p11 insert the header "Income Phase" before the sentence that starts "Based on its activities, size, and patronage..."

2) I wavered both ways when writing it. The intention is certainly meant to be that a roll of one fails, which is why I didn't specifically include an exception. However I'm fully aware that it may seem a bit wrong, as you say, so there is absolutely nothing wrong with just letting the result stand even on a natural 1, and it's unlikely to break anything except bringing the ability to perform some Operations forward a month or two in the future. Not a huge deal.

I have it on very good authority that Chemlak will be either incorporating Ultimate Factions into the existing Kingdom Tracking Spreadsheet, or will write a sheet just for factions. It just might take some time because I believe there's still a lot of work getting Ultimate Rulership up to scratch, and then there's Ultimate Battle and Ultimate War. And Ultimate Armies.

Oh, and any reviews are always welcome!


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For the natural 1 on the faction check for Income to treat the total roll as half the actual amount while a natural 20 nets an extra half of the total amount. My players like to get that special something whenever they roll a natural 20, ;)

CB.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

After discussing the faction system in our group and statting up starting factions for each player, we still struggle with a few concepts.

1) Tension: Two of my players have planned a storyline for 'their' faction that involves intra-faction conflict. The tension-mechanic seems perfect for this. However, the only way to acquire tension is through sabotage from another faction. As a houserule, I would propose that other actions have a chance to create tension as well (Abandon Goal and New Goal seem to be good candidates--after all, not every faction member may be on board with these changes).

2) The interaction between kingdom building and faction rules: My players enjoy kingdom building and the agency they have as rulers. Now, there are also factions who can exert their influence on the rulers. I don't expect conflicts of interest will come up too often, but I'm not sure how to handle them once they come up. Let's say the church of Erastil controls the rulers to build a shrine in their capital. However, the players have already other plans for their kingdom building turn. How should I resolve the conflict?
We discussed it, and came to the following compromise:
- The rulers still have agency over the whole kingdom building process, but should take the faction's control action into account.
- The rulers don't have to act immediately on the faction's control action, but delays incur unrest.
- Factions can create incentives for the rulers (for example: offer WP/BP from their own coffers if it helps to advance a major goal).
- I'm also considering an edict that allows the rulers to suppress a faction's action using the kingdom mechanics.

I would be curious to hear how other people would handle this kind of situation.


1) Tension requiring another faction's involvement was a conscious design choice to reflect conflict between factions, however your point about it serving other purposes is extremely reasonable. I agree that Abandon and New Goal are good places for added tension, but you could even go as far as also saying that any faction check which fails by 5 or more adds a point of tension. That wouldn't unduly affect the overall balance, considering how cheap removing tension is, all it would do is very mildly slow factions down.

I'm just about to start work, so I'll give my answer to 2 later.

Thanks for the questions, Amanuensis!

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